Some struggle during online school while others thrive

Have you noticed some kids who seemed so smart during in-person school always seem to be asked to stay after class during online learning, while others who you don’t recall being straight-A students are now dominating the classroom? This is what I’ve been seeing, and sadly I’d put myself in the first group.

My sister, ninth grader Flora Thompson, shares some reasons that people like her are so successful in this online environment. She says, “I enjoy being able to sit at home and lie back while doing my work. The teacher is right there on my screen.”

She likes everything being so stationary, and that is great for people who aren’t hands-on and mechanical thinkers. “It’s honestly great, now I don’t have to sit and wait for the teacher to answer someone’s question, and if I do it’s usually just answered in the chat,” Thompson says. “If I could continue doing this throughout high school, I would. I think it’s a lot simpler than the in-person school we used to have.”

Although obviously some people prefer online learning, others of us don’t necessarily agree. I interviewed Teralyn Harrison, a fellow ninth grader at Waipahu High School, who says, “We sit there typing and listening all day. I have headaches, eye strains, and family members are constantly getting in my face.”

This made me think that maybe it’s the environment in which you do online school that matters. If we have a nice area like Thompson, compared to more distracting learning environment like Harrison, then perhaps we learn better.

To test this, I interviewed one final ninth grader, Blake Bowman. During online school, Bowman says, “I get to pet my dogs while listening to my teacher, then when she’s done I can do my work. Who wouldn’t want that?”

When looking at it that way, maybe Bownman is right. She does seem to have a distracting environment, adding, “Of course there’s my dad walking around sometimes, but overall I don’t view getting food and dad jokes all day to be distracting, it’s just motivation to pay attention.”

It may not always be your environment that causes you to do well or not in online school. Overall, it seems that people who struggle to pay attention are also the ones who prefer more hands-on learning and get distracted more easily. I can attest to the fact that paying attention to a blinking screen is tough, although some people may find it easy. It depends on the person, but if you struggle during online school maybe ask a friend who is doing well. Perhaps they can give you some tips.